"The answer to this is very simple. It was a joke. It had to be a number, an ordinary, smallish number, and I chose that one. Binary representations, base thirteen, Tibetan monks are all complete nonsense. I sat at my desk, stared into the garden and thought '42 will do' I typed it out. End of story."
- Douglas Adams (1992-11-03) https://groups.google.com/forum/#!original/alt.fan.douglas-adams/595nPukE-Jo/koaAJ3tPBtEJ full list of quotes